The Best of Fall in Barcelona
Fall or in Catalan, La Tardor, is perhaps the best time of year to spend some quality time getting to know Barcelona. The heat and humidity that mean summer here finally start to abate, but there’s still plenty of warm-enough weather and sun to go around. Locals and their kids are back at work and school so the parks, beaches and terraces are less crowded than in August and early September, at least during the week.
Passeig dels Castanyers, 1, 08035 Barcelona, Spain
The oldest garden in the city, the Laberint d’Horta was once the property of the Marquise Desvalls. Explore lush green spaces in search of striking statuary and plant life, then find love—in the figure of Cupid at the center of the garden maze. Above the maze there’s a large terrace overlooking the gardens and a charming pavilion with a reflecting pool full of carp. Pack a picnic, the snack bar is limited and overpriced. Address: Parc del Laberint d’Horta Passeig dels Castanyers, 1 08035, Barcelona
Cumbre del Tibidabo, 08035 Barcelona, Spain
Tibidabo is worth the somewhat complicated trip to the top even if just to enjoy sweeping panoramas of Barcelona. Apart from the amazing views, there’s Sagrat Cor a beautiful neo-gothic church where the faithful can pray, and photographers can take an elevator to the top for still higher-up perspectives of Barcelona. Another attraction at the top is the kitsch and charming Tibidabo Amusement Park, built in 1889. Take a spin on the ferris wheel, or the park’s emblematic plane ride. Getting there: Grab the L7 train from Plaza Catalunya and get off at Avenida Tibidabo. From there take the Tram Blau in Plaza John Kennedy to the end of the line, where you can then hop the funicular train to the top.
La Barceloneta, Barcelona, Spain
The city’s old fishing quarter, Barceloneta, is a warren of narrow residential streets dotted with classic family-owned seafood restaurants. The neighborhood is charming, if a bit scruffy, but its biggest asset is its proximity to Barcelona’s urban beaches, a three-mile-long stretch of sand and sea that buzzes with activity day and night. Passeig Joan de Borbó is the grand boulevard that divides Barceloneta from Port Vell, the harbor area where gleaming mega-yachts have now taken the place of humble fishing boats. Lined with touristy cafés and souvenir shops, it’s nevertheless a pleasant street to stroll along on your way from the city to the beach.
Carrer Fageda, s/n, 17810 Can Blanc, Girona, Spain
Less than two hours from Barcelona, in car or via TEISA buses (during the week), La Fageda is a leafy green wonderland after too much time spent in Barcelona’s hectic city center. This beech forest is unique, growing at a much lower altitude than usual for the Iberian Peninsula.In the fall, the vivid red leaves on the trees are especially stunning. No motor vehicles are allowed in the forest itself, but you can hike, bike-ride, or explore the reserve on horseback or even in a horse and buggy for a reasonable fee (reserve ahead). Inside the reserve, visit La Fageda’s dairy farm--you can learn about how the yogurt and ice-cream is made (in Catalan or Spanish), pet the calves, and taste some of La Fageda’s products. Beyond la Fageda, in the larger area of La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park, there are volcanoes, Olot and Sant Feliu de Pallerols’ old towns, and a medieval castle to see, as well as numerous routes for hiking, biking and horseback riding.
4 Carrer de la Canuda
Stock up on vintage books, comics and magazines in English, Spanish, Catalan, French and other languages at Llibreria Canuda. Carlos Ruiz Zafón fans can head to the basement, also known as the “Cemetery of Forgotten Books”. Whatever you do, go soon, as this historic Barcelona bookstore is slated to close November 25th, 2013.